Video: CNN Says Chevy Spark EV is a Winner, But There’s One Problem…

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 34

As a city vehicle, the 2014 Chevy Spark EV is darn near perfect.

CNN Reviews Chevy Spark EV

CNN Reviews Chevy Spark EV

It can zip (thanks to mounds of torque) in and out of traffic.

It’s compact enough to be parked almost anywhere.

It’s cheap ($199 per month to lease).

Spark EV is versatile (4 doors and decent cargo space).

And it’s fun to drive.

The only downside to the Spark EV, at least according to CNN Money, is that it’s only…(not going to spoil this one).

It’s video watching time.

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34 responses to "Video: CNN Says Chevy Spark EV is a Winner, But There’s One Problem…"

  1. GeorgeS says:

    Pretty decent review. Only the problem is not a problem. Just buy one in Ca and trailer it back home.

    1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      It’s all fun and games until there’s some warranty service to be performed on the electric drivetrain bits.

      1. ClarksonCote says:

        My Central NY dealer said their service department is getting training on the Spark EV. So either it will eventually open up to other states, or GM is at least planning to support the car from a warranty standpoint in more locations.

        1. JakeY says:

          That doesn’t apply to all (most?) compliance EVs. For example, for the RAV4 EV you can’t get service on the electric bits outside the states where it’s originally sold.

          1. scottf200 says:

            Difference with the RAV4 EV is that Toyota is outright anti-EV. See many articles here and elsewhere. Their tech would not be encourage to learn.

          2. ClarksonCote says:

            @JakeY, I think we’re in agreement. The implication is that Chevrolet will likely be offering the Spark in an expanded number of locations, evidenced by dealers in other states receiving training.

            And if this is the case, it has not been made public yet. Worst case, they’ll support service in other states, but like you pointed out, that seems unlikely unless they’re going to offer it for sale.

            1. Bonaire says:

              With all the NYSERDA stuff and support for EVs in NYC, I’m sure NY is on the list of future sales.

        2. scottf200 says:

          I bought my Volt in NY before it was available in IL. Some dealers in my IL area were already trained on it. Issue may be special tools/equipment but I don’t specifically know of any. Is the Spark really that much different than the Volt or some Chevrolet hybrid? They have diagnostics computers and access to all the tech info. Plus hotlines.

    2. dan says:

      the spark ev’s that have bee sold do not and cannot have the fast charging option installed..i am disappointed as my spark ev will be obsolete in a couple of months

  2. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    Two word hint:

    Compliance Car.

    1. Rick Danger says:

      One word answser:


  3. Tesla Fan says:

    GM payed CNN to do this review because no one wants that hideous thing every time i see a spark i laugh so ugly

    1. Steve T says:

      Tesla Fan…aren’t you a bit ugly? Don’t you have anything good to say? ….smells like troll around here.

      BTW, I am a Tesla fan, too, as I own shares in the company. But, you don’t have to be downing the other electrics all of the time.

    2. Spec says:

      Dude, you drive a Smart ED.

      1. James says:

        You know what? An electric powered ANYTHING is great in my book.

        I bought an electric lawnmower ( read the stats on lawn tool pollution ),
        I have an electric scooter ( Go-Ped ESR750H, American-made, ) that fits inside the hatch of my Volt and my hybrid.
        I don’t have an electric boat yet ( do have an electric trolling motor that
        fits my kayak ) but researching the advances in electric boats and motors
        is eye-opening.

        I just dig using as little gasoline as possible. It’s also fun as heck to shaft
        Big Oil and O.P.E.C. any and every way possible.

        So a guy has a SmartED or a Mitsu iMiev…..Maybe he has a Neighborhood
        Electric Vehicle…or even possibly has a Prius or Fusion hybrid….. It’s all
        good… And if it has a plug, SO MUCH THE BETTER. There’s so many
        more “tools in the toolbox” today – be thankful folks are buying them at all!

        Snobdom is different than fandom – so if you’re a Volt guy, a Tesla guy or
        a big fan of Fisker – YEAH FISKER! —- It’s all good, boys and girls…all good.

        These days folks in here call me a downer ’cause I’m not real hip on BMW’s
        EV efforts. I really do try to list positives every time ( ok, most times ) I comment
        on i3 or i8. So I think the negs far outweigh the pluses – I still respect anybody
        who buys an i3 ( not so much an i8 ) because — YOU GOT IT — it’s electric.

        In my book we who buy electric are part of the solution – not the problem.

        1. Spec says:

          I agree. That is why he should not be mocking the Spark.

        2. Open-Mind says:

          Curious … what’s to dislike about the i3? I’ve long been leaning toward a Spark EV, but GM’s lackluster commitment to the thing has got me considering the i3 now.

          Based on my research, the i3 is slightly bigger, faster, RWD (ie no torque steer), has a nicer interior (subjective), and is much better looking on the outside. Granted the i3 is more expensive, but that’s to be expected due to the above.


    3. Anderlan says:

      As a current ’06 xB driver, I don’t give a shit about looks 🙂

  4. Ocean Railroader says:

    They did a bad job making this thing with the million shaky clips a minute and even when they showed the dude driving they still tried some stupid Hollywood clip jobs in making this video. I think I could have made something far better.

  5. evnow says:

    One of those cars where more people write about it – than buy it.

    1. io says:

      Maybe. That’s ok though. More mentions of EVs and PHVs, printed or on air, especially neutral or positive views like in this short segment, contribute to slowly make the general public more familiar with them.

      Viewers here likely won’t remember the exact brand etc, but maybe torque or lease price compared to gas cost will eventually catch their attention…

  6. Danpatgal says:

    Nothing against my iMiev, but I really wanted to get one of these first. Since I’ve had the iMiev now a year and it will be at least another year until the Spark is here … perhaps I will want to trade it in at that point (as inefficient and non-Green as that might be). I’m surprised there was no complaint about range … but perhaps enough people are learning about EVs and that they can be really really awesome city cars (or just your daily driver, even if you live in a suburb), that they’ve stopped harping on it (ooh – I think I just saw some flying pigs having a snowball fight in Hell … 🙂 )

  7. For anyone spending more than $250 a month in gas, a Spark EV on lease is essentially a free car. CA clear air rebate even covers your down payment and fees. It will be an even greater deal when it ships with a quick charger and Combo QC stations are available.

    I wonder how long it will be until word gets out and none can be had, like the Honda Fit EV and the Fiat 500e.

    1. James says:

      Not so hot on the SAE Combo QC. It may well be like Beta and VHS back in the
      eighties. Sure Beta was better, yet VHS won out because of the
      smart way it was distributed amongst the major manufacturers who were just
      getting into the affordable home video machine business. Sony held onto Beta
      for itself and by the time they knew what hit ’em – VHS was making it into everyone’s

      By now, with Tesla offering a CHAdeMO accessory for it’s customers – the writing
      seems to be on the wall, and maybe a death-knell for the SAE Combo. It’s just
      too late getting out there – in fact, it’s NOT out there. Why buy a car with a system
      for which no chargers are available?

      GM should just equip it’s present and future EVs with CHAdeMO and get
      serious about making and distributing non-compliance EVs

      1. vdiv says:

        James, if you are forfeiting your role of calling it like it is, then let me step in. 😉

        The vast majority of deployed and to be deployed charging stations are L2 208/240V 30A J1772 capable of delivering up to 7.2 kW. To release an EV at this point that cannot take full advantage of the deployed infrastructure and can only charge at up to 3.3 kW on it is extremely short-sighted and can only be explained in two ways, being cheap and designing the car for compliance, not sales.

        GM can and needs to do better, a lot better.

        1. scottf200 says:

          Most will simply be charging overnight at home. Why can’t people get that?

          1. vdiv says:

            Most will drive the car in the city or on secondary roads, so why make it highway-speed capable? It is a ridiculous argument, right?

            One of the main drawbacks of EVs is slow charging so the design of a new EV not to make the small step to mitigate that is absurd. Why even bother with the CCS plug in this case?

            1. Spec says:

              Most will NOT drive only on secondary roads, so that is a stupid argument. 3.3KW charger is slow but it is not that big of a deal. It is pretty rare that the speed between a 3.3KW charger and a 6KW charger is going to make a difference. Most charging will be overnight and 3.3KW will work fine. Sure, bigger would be better but this is not a fatal issue . . . especially if you get SAE-CCS.

              1. vdiv says:

                Not everyone mostly charges overnight at home. Not everyone even has a L2 charger at home or even guaranteed charging at home. What good does the CCS do when there is one such (rather expensive) station, but hundreds of thousands of L2 30A stations?

                If we want EVs to be accepted and used as “normal” cars we need to work out the aspects that make them “abnormal” given the environment we are in. That environment includes every pure EV that is on the market now with a 6.6 kW charger (fast DC charging or not). The SparkEV is glaringly deficient in this regard.

                1. kdawg says:

                  vdiv, are you the one that has to drive to a coffee shop to charge?

              2. io says:

                Agreed with Spec here. 3.3kW is plenty fast to use overnight (or at work/school), and while 6.6 is nice on paper, it remains way too slow on the go — plus, most L2 can’t be reserved, so relying on them for a trip is not risk-free: it’s not like waiting for a previous user to finish charging will be practical.

                The combination of slow(ish) L2 for home/work and L3/QC elsewhere when needed works beautifully… assuming quick-chargers are available, of course, and that’s where the Spark now has a significant handicap.

  8. ModernMarvelFan says:

    GM needs to fill the ZEV quota first and then it will worry about taking more EV market share.

    Plus it doesn’t want to eat up all the Federal Incentives on the Volt with the Spark EV….

  9. C S says:

    Once again, consider reading or listening to the book Internal Combustion by Edwin Black to better understand this position by GM (& Honda to some extent as well).

  10. Aatheus says:

    I really want to like the Spark EV. I had a chance to test drive one. I love the torque and the size is not a problem. But my 2012 Leaf already has a 3.3kW charger and CHAdeMO support for fast charging. Why would I buy a smaller car with the same slow L2 charger and a (currently) non-existent fast charging infrastructure?